Interview: Matthew McLellan, co-founder, and CEO of Halp. co

Matthew-Founder- Halp

Interview with Matthew McLellan, co-founder, and CEO of Halp. co

Matthew McLellan, co-founder and CEO, previously executed growth strategies at SATOV consultants, based in Canada. He attended Ivey Business School at Western University.

In the interview, Matthew shared his personal experiences, challenges, and successes, providing readers with a unique perspective on what it takes to build and grow a successful tech startup.

We are excited to share this interview with our readers, offering them a rare opportunity to gain insights from one of the most influential leaders in the industry.

Kindly brief us about Halp. co, its specialization, and the services that it offers

Halp is a platform + WhatsApp-based texting that makes studying abroad easy and affordable. You can think about it like a personal trainer but for getting into university or college.

Through our platform and WhatsApp our international admissions experts provide end-to-end support to get students accepted to universities or colleges in Canada, US, UK, and Australia.

When students sign up for Halp, they complete their profile and are matched with a coach based on their interests.

Their coach then provides them with institution recommendations (based on their profile), builds their application package and submits it on their behalf, provides visa support (once accepted), and soft-landing support like travel, accommodation, banking, and more all for free!

How does differentiates itself from other college admissions coaching platforms?

There are three big differences between Halp and our competitors. Firstly, we believe that students should save their money for tuition and living expenses so our services are completely free.

The only thing a student pays for throughout the process is an application fee, and we try to get discounts from our partners when possible. Second, all of our coaching is 1:1 and completed through a combination of WhatsApp and video calls.

This allows students to message and call their coach on their own time, it’s digital and convenient. Finally, our international experts (coaches) live in the destination countries students are interested in.

This gives them way more insight into the experiences outside of education that students want. It also allows us to curate recommendations to students based on the cultural experience they want.

How does leverage technology to enhance the admissions coaching experience for students?

The whole idea around Halp was to ensure that it was a tech-enabled platform. Building the organization with a tech focus allows us to scale faster – meaning we can help more students!

The admissions process is complicated and confusing. There are thousands of institutions to choose from, all of which have different application portals that are impossible to navigate.

At Halp students can view and apply to institutions from their dashboard. Our “recommendation cards” provide students with all the application requirements and information for that institution, in one place.

Students can upload their documents straight to our encrypted platform and coaches can then export them speeding up the application process.

We also leverage technology that already exists like our WhatsApp integration so students don’t have to be online at the same time as coaches and they can message their coach in the same place they communicate with friends and family for their convenience. 

How do you ensure that the coaching provided by is personalized and tailored to each student’s unique needs?

The best thing about the study abroad process is that each student has a unique experience. Institution recommendations are tailored to the student’s interests and criteria like program, location, budget, desired experience and other factors.

Coaches also guide students in the statement of purpose writing process. If a student is looking for financial assistance we can provide them with awesome resources as well. Our coaches go through rigorous training to ensure they are the top experts in the industry.

Can you walk us through the process that a student goes through when they sign up for’s services?

When a student signs up for Halp they are immediately prompted to complete their profile. This is how we learn so much about the student’s needs so quickly.

They will be prompted to answer questions on the country and program their interested in, their level of study, past grades, English proficiency test scores, their budget, and intended intake.

They are then contacted by a Halp concierge who verifies their information, provides more insight into the study abroad process, and matches them with a coach.

Once a student has been matched with a coach they have the option to meet them over a video call, we recommend this, where they’ll already have institution recommendations ready to be reviewed with their coach.

Once the student, and their parents, have decided on 1-2 institutions the Halp coach helps the student complete their application package.

The coach then applies on the student’s behalf to one of Halp’s 3,000 partner institutions. When the student is accepted the coach will help them with tuition payment and completing the visa process. Finally, Halp provides soft-landing services like accommodation, travel, banking support, and more!

How does support international students who may face additional challenges when applying to colleges in the US?

The main challenges students face when applying abroad are financing, securing accommodation, providing the right documentation, and navigating all of the confusing resources.

Luckily for Halp, we have some great industry partners that support us in our mission of making education accessible to everyone.

Our partnership with MPOWER Financing allows us to provide great loan recommendations to our students in need of financial support.

Our soft-landing services include helping students find accommodation near campus where they will feel safe and comfortable.

A combination of the Halp dashboard and coach support provides students with information on all of the required docs needed for an application and easily accessible resources to learn more about different institutions and studying abroad in general.

What was the inspiration behind turning into an entrepreneur?

I always knew I wanted to be the founder of my own company, but I founded Halp because I had a personal connection with students who study abroad.

As a kid, my dad would rent out the extra bedrooms in our house to international students. I would become quite close with each new student that rented a room and they would tell us stories about their experiences.

Many paid thousands of dollars for an agent that wasn’t helpful, and many who came to Canada had nowhere to live, without a bank account, etc.

I kept tabs on the study abroad industry while at school and working in consulting, it seemed that no one had really cracked the code on making studying abroad more accessible – so I started Halp.

How does ensure that its coaching team is well-equipped and up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in college admissions?

Everyone on the Halp team whether they work directly with students or not is required to know what’s going on in the education industry.

The coaching team has Monday and Friday meetings weekly to discuss trends and news that will better equip them to support students.

At Halp we keep a close eye on trends in our biggest source and destination markets. We also have great mentors who have built and exited businesses in the education industry who provide us with insights into greater market trends.

What are’s plans for the future? Are there any new features or services that you plan to introduce in the coming months?

We are constantly developing our product so it can support more students and provide a great experience for them.

Without spilling too much we’re currently focusing on ways to improve our soft-landing services, like sourcing more immigration resources, and being able to provide 24/7 support to students at the beginning of the process so they can be matched with their coach faster!

What are your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?

The most important thing I could pass on is to stay curious. Even if you think you’ve cracked your business always be looking for ways you can make it better.

It’s important to realize when you aren’t the expert in something and go find people who are. Find people who can help you learn and develop even faster that’s how you win as an entrepreneur.

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